Rene L. Olvera, MD, MPH, will assume duties as chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio effective Sept. 1. Robert A. Hromas, MD, FACP, dean of the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at the health science center, announced the appointment.
Olvera was selected after an extensive national search to succeed Steven R. Pliszka, MD, who is retiring effective Aug. 31. “Please join me in thanking Steve for his many contributions to the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the Long School of Medicine and UT Health San Antonio,” Hromas said. “He has transformed and grown services in all mission areas for the betterment of students, residents, faculty and staff. He leaves the department well positioned for continued success.
Olvera was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas. He completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University. His medical school and psychiatry residency training were completed at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
Olvera then arrived at UT Health San Antonio for his child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship training and joined the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as a faculty member in 1995. Olvera leveraged a faculty development award from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the UT Health San Antonio Hispanic Center of Excellence to obtain a Master of Public Health degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, San Antonio campus.
He holds dual board certifications in psychiatry and in child and adolescent psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and divides his time between administration, patient care, research and teaching. His clinical focus has been treating children and adolescents from underserved areas including those in the juvenile justice system. He has been an investigator on numerous National Institute of Mental Health-funded studies with a research focus on the clinical expression of mood disorders and potential biomarkers of risk.
Olvera’s leadership roles have included serving as a member of the Texas Juvenile Justice Board of Directors and serving as psychiatry clerkship director for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Academic Health Center, which became the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Olvera also has served as medical director for Clarity Child Guidance Center/UT Health San Antonio outpatient psychiatry services and as chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He currently serves as the chief medical officer for the Center for Health Care Services, the local mental health authority for Bexar County, and as vice chairman for community psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Olvera has been married to Michelle Villa-Olvera, MD, for more than 30 years. She is an obstetrician-gynecologist who trained at UT Southwestern Medical School and at UT Health San Antonio and is currently practicing in San Antonio.